Cyberbullying: No Online Laughing Matter

Word cloud for cyberbullying
My business was nearly ruined by a cyberbully. And that was before "cyberbullying" became trendy.

About 10 years ago, an individual began a very ugly attack on me personally and professionally out of a need to "get even" for a perceived wrong.  At the time, I didn't realize that this person had a history of "old school" bullying, stalking and harassment, but this appeared to be the first time technology was the weapon of choice.  The perpetrator used all sorts of tricks and tools to discredit me, including hijacking my business website, substituting a different, damaging site in its place, and creating new linked sites that not only attacked me for my position as an expert and coach on character and social skills, but also spread lies about my abilities and track record as a mom to my young children.

It was horrible...and didn't let up for months. I'd get the inflammatory sites taken down, just to have new ones pop up almost immediately. I lost sleep, couldn't eat, and my business suffered. I had to hire a private investigator, and, even get the FBI involved at one point because this individual harassing me happened to be a trained computer security expert.

The cyberbullying and harassment eventually ended, but the resulting damage couldn't be undone. (more…)

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Where will we go after 48 Hours’ bullying special “Words Can Kill?”

Tonight CBS' 48 Hours airs its hourlong special on bullying and cyber bullying "Words Can Kill." You can be sure I'll be watching.

Even though SocialSmarts wasn't included in the segment, I did provide quite a bit of background information to the producers last Spring that I hope was helpful in developing the special. We are also included in the companion "Resources" page CBS has published.

What I think is going to be important is what schools and parents DO after they see this program. As I frequently point out, I don't think we need more awareness.  It's pretty clear, particularly given the media emphasis over the past 2 years or so, that we KNOW we have a problem. The question is, what will we DO about it?  Where will we go for answers, and how do we take effective steps to cure this epidemic?

To that end, I announced yesterday a new site which is a highly targeted site bringing information, resources and solutions to schools and communities. While it's still "new" we will be continuing to work on it, develop it and bring "best of breed" solutions to the public. There are opportunities for inclusion by other content and products/service providers and we'll be building that list of partners over time.

I encourage you to visit the site and provide your feedback. It's time to stop wringing our hands and talking about how tragic this all is. It's time to take action and do things that WORK so that no more tragedies like this occur.

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